I LOVE cloth diapering. I didn't even know it was a thing until I started following TweedleTee10 on YouTube. After I saw them, I immediately started researching and decided that cloth diapering was for us. The reasons for cloth diapering are cost effectiveness ( disposables are expensive!), environmental consciousness (disposables just sit in landfills!), chemicals (disposables have tons of chemicals in them), and cuteness (they are freaking cute!).
One of my friends on Instagram asked me to specifically talk about cost effectiveness and the labor involved in washing them. I spent about $250 for my beginning stash before baby was born. This was comprised of new and used diapers that I got on the Facebook and Babycenter.com swap boards. For those thinking "ewwww, used diapers!" it's not bad at all. Sellers send them to you washed, and you do a bleach soak and another wash and they are good to go for your baby. Sage is 2 months old today (woot!) and grew out of the newborn sized diapers about two weeks ago. I have since sold her diapers that were too small for about $140, and purchased some new ones. So as far as cost effectiveness goes, one thing you can't do with disposables is sell them when you're done! Also, the one-size diapers that I've purchased will take her all the way through potty training, or around 40lbs, whichever comes first. Definitely a great investment.
When it comes to the labor of cleaning the diapers, I don't feel it's too bad at all. We don't use any special detergent, just Tide Free and Gentle, which we use for all our clothes also. The only detergent requirement is use something that doesn't have softeners in it. We have a really old washing machine, which is actually better for cloth because many times the High Efficiency machines don't use enough water to really get the diapers clean. The process is do a quick rinse cycle (this rinses away most of the pee and poo), then a wash cycle, then a second quick rinse cycle at the end (to make sure all the detergent is out of the diapers). Then we dry most diapers in the dryer. The waterproof diaper covers we hang dry. We wash generally every other day to every two days. Our water bill has only gone up $8 since starting cloth diapering. I have to note that this wash routine works fine now because she is exclusively breastfeed, and breastfed poop is water soluble. Once she starts solids, we'll probably have to invest in some flush-able diaper liners. These lay on top of the diaper and allow you to easily throw the poop in the toilet before washing.
We keep dirty diapers in a regular trash can with a Planet Wise pail liner inside. When the lid is closed, it doesn't smell at all. Something to note is that the chemicals in disposable diapers cause baby pee and poo to smell much worse than it does on it's own. We used disposables while visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving in Virginia and my husband immediately noted how bad her diapers smelled in disposables vs. cloth.
My stash is comprised of All in One Diapers, Pocket Diapers, Fitted Diapers, Prefolds, and Diaper Covers. It is REALLY easy to get carried away in the diaper world. There are so many different types, and brands, and they're so cute! If anyone would like me to be more specific on brands I use or types I recommend let me know and I can totally do that.